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be decided, which occasioned them to shoot again; when Robinstruck the gold a second time, and Stukely's, arrow, was affixed upon the edge of it,” Robin was therefore adjudged the conqueror; and the prize of honour, a garland of laurel embellished with variegated ribbons, was put upon his head; and to Stukely was given a garland of ivy, because he was the second best performer in that contest. —The pageant was finished with the archery; and the procession began to move away to make room for the villagers, who afterwards assembled in the square, and amused themselves by dancing round the May-pole in promiscuous companies, according to the to antient custom.” It is scarcely possible to give a better general idea of the regular May-game, than as it has been here represented.
Of the English May-pole this may be
observed. An author before cited says, that
“at the north-west corner of Aldgate ward in Leadenhall-street, standeth the fair and beautiful parish church of St. Andrew the apostle, with an addition, to be known from other churches of that name, of the knape, or undershaft, and so called St. Andrew Undershaft. because that of old time, every year (on May-day in the morning,) it was used, that a high or long shaft, or May-pole, was set up there, in the midst of §
door of the said church, which shaft or pole, when it was set on end, and fixed in the ground, was higher than the church steeple. Jeffrey Chaucer, writing of a
vain boaster, hath these words, meaning
e street, before the south.
gate, called of the shaft, Shaft-alley, (being of the possessions of Rochester-bridge,) in the ward of Lime-street.—It was there, I say, hanged on iron hooks many years, till the third of king Edward the sixth, (1552), that one sir Stephen, curate of St. Katherine Christ's church, preaching at Paul's Cross, said there, that this shaft was made an idoll, by naming the church of St. Andrew with the addition of Undershaft; he perswaded, therefore, that the names of churches might be altered.— This sermon at Paul's Cross took such effect, that in the afternoon of that present Sunday, the neighbors and tenants to the said bridge, over whose doors the said shaft had lain, after they had dined (to make themselves strong,) gathered more help, and, with great labor, raising the shaft from the hooks, (whereon it had rested two-and-thirty years,) they sawed it in pieces, every man taking for his share so much as had lain over his door and stall, the length of his house; and they of the alley, divided amongst them, so much as had lain over their all, sate. Thus was his idol (as he ten, d it,) mangled, and after burned.” It was a great object with some of the more rigid among our early reformers, to suppress amusements, especially Maypoles; and these “idols" of the people were got down as zeal grew fierce, and got up as it grew cool, till, after various ups and downs, the favourites of the populace were, by the parliament, on the 6th of April, 1644, thus provided against: “The lords and commons do further order and ordain, that all and singular
May-poles, that are or shall be erected, shall be taken down, and removed by
the constables, bossholders, tithing-men, petty constables, and churchwardens of the parishes, where the same be, and that no May-pole be hereafter set-up, erect: ed, or suffered to be, set up within this kingdom of England, or dominion of Wales; the said officers to be fined five shillings weekly till the said May-pole be taken down,” or 2, 2 ..., , , , , 1. Accordingly down went all the May. poles that were left. A famous one in the Strand, which had, ten years ... been sung in lofty metre, appears to have previously fallen. The poet says, .
* * ***.*Fairly we marehed on, tin our approach
Objected to our sight a summer broach,
o And poore men far'd the better for their feasts.
* The restoration of Charles II. was the signal for the restoration of May-poles. On the very first May-day afterwards, in f661, the May-pole in the Strand was reared with great ceremony and rejoicing, à curious account of which, from a rare tract, is at the reader's service.” “Let me declare to you,” says the triumphant narrator, “the manner in general of that stately cedar erected in the strand 134 foot high, commonly called the May-Pole, upon š. cost of the parishioners there adjacent, and the gracious consent of his sacred Majesty with the illustrious Prince The Duke of York. This Tree-was a most choice and remarkable piece; 'twas made below Bridge, and brought in two parts up to Scotland Yard near the King's
---, i. 12 oz of lo Palace, and from thence it was conveyed April 14th, to the Strand to be erected. It was brought with a streamer flourishing before it, Drums beating all the way and other sorts of musick; it was supE. to be so long, that Landsmen (as arpenters) could not possibly raise it; Prince James the Duke of York, Lord igh Admiral of England, commanded twelve seamen off a boord to come and officiate the business, whereupon they came and brought their cables, Pullies, and other tacklins, with six great anchors) after this was brought three Crowns, bore by three men bare-headed and a streamer displaying all the way before them, Drums
* Pasquil's Palinndia, 1634, 4to.
beating and other musick. playing; numerous multitudes of people thronging the streets, with great shouts and acclamations all day long. The May, pole then, being joyned together, and hoopt about with bands of iron, the crown and cane with the Kings Arms richly gilded, was placed on the head of it, a large top like a Balcony was about the middle of it. This being done, the trumpets did sound, and in four hours space it was advanced upright, after which being established fast in the ground six drums did, beat, and the trumpets did sound; again great shouts and acclamations the people give, that it did ring throughout all the strand. After that came a Morice Dance finely deckt, with o. scarfs, in their half-shirts, with a Tabor and Pipe, the ancient Musick, and danced round about the Maypole, and after that danced the rounds .# their liberty. Upon the top of this famous standard is likewise set up a royal purple streamer, about the middle of it is placed four Crowns more, with the King's Arms likewise, there is also a garland set upon it of various colours of delicate rich favours, under which is to be placed three great Janthorns, to remain for three honours; that is, one for Prince James Duke of York, Ld High Admiral of England; the other for the Vice Admiral; and the third for the rear Admiral; these are to give light in dark nights and to continue so as long as the Pole stands which will be a perpetual honour for seamen. It is placed as near hand as they could guess, in the very same pit where the former stood, but far more glorious, bigger and higher, than ever any one that stood before it; and the seamen themselves do confess that it could not be built higher nor is there not such a one in Europe beside, which highly doth please his Majesty, and the illustrious Prince Duke of York; little children did much rejoice, and antient people did clap their hands, saying, golden days began to appear. I question not but 'twill ring like melodious musick throughout every county in Englend, when they read this story being exactly pen'd; let this satisfie for the glories of London that other loyal subjects may read what we here do see.”** A processional engraving, by Vertue, among the prints of the Antiquarian So
and as far as recollection of the print serves, it was erected opposite to the site cfsir Walter Stirling and Co's. present banking-house. In a compilation respecting “London and Middlesex," it is stated that this May-pole having decayed, was obtained of the parish by sir Isaac Newton, in 1717, and carried through the city to Wanstead, in Essex; and by license of sir Richard Child, lord Castlemain, reared in the park by the rev. Mr. Pound, rector of that parish, for the purpose of supporting the i. telescope at that period in the world, given by Mons. Hugon, a French member of the Royal Society, as a present; the telescope was one hundred and twenty, five feet long. This May-pole on public occasions was adorned with streamers, flags, garlands of flowers and other orna. ments. - -It was near the May-pole in the Strand that, in 1677, Mr. Robert Perceval was found dead with a deep wound under his left breast, and his sword drawn and bloody, lying by him. He was nineteen years of age, had fought as many duels as he had lived years, and with uncommon talents was an excessive libertine. He was second son to the right hon. sir Robert Perceval, bart. Some singular particulars are related of him in the “History of the House of Yvery.” A stranger's hat with a bunch of ribbons in it was lying near his body when it was discovered, and there exists no doubt of his having been killed by some person who, notwithstanding royal proclamations and great inquiries, was never discovered. The once celebrated Beau Fielding was suspected of the crime. He was buo. ried under the chapel of Lincoln’s-inn, His elder brother, sir Philip Perceval, intent on discovering the murderers, violently attacked a gentleman in Dublin, whom he declared he had never seen before; he could only account for his rage by saying he was possessed with a belief that he was one of those who had killed his brother; they were soon parted, and * was seen no more. . . . . . e last poet who seems to have mentioned it was Pope; he says of an assemblage of persons that.
561 r: ... so o Amidst the area wide they took their stand, Where the tall May-pole once o'er-look’d the Strand....., , , *:: ---- to A native of Penzance, in Cornwall, relates to the editor of the EveryDay Book, that it is an annual custom there, on May-eve, for a number of young men and women to assemble at a publichouse, and sit up till the clock strikes twelve, when they go round the town with violins, drums, and other instruments, and by sound of music call upon others who had previously settled to join them. As soon as the party is formed, they proceed to different farmhouses, within four or five miles of the neighbourhood, where they are expected as regularly as May morning comes; and they there partake of a beverage called junket, made of raw milk and rennet, or running, as it is there called, sweetened with sugar, and a little cream added. After this, they take tea, and “heavy country cake,” composed of flour, cream, sugar, and currants; next, rum and milk, and then a dance. After thus regaling, they gather the May. While some are breaking down. , the boughs, others sit and make the “May music.” This is done by cutting a circle through the bark at a certain distance from the bottom of the May branches; then, by gently and regularly tapping the bark all round, from the cut circle to the end, the bark becomes loosened, and slips away whole from the wood; and a hole being cut in the pipe, it is easily, formed to emit a sound when blown through, and becomes a whistle. The gathering and the “May music” being finished, they then “bring home the May,” by five or six o'clock in the morning, with the band laying, and their whistles blowing. After §: throughout the town, they go to their respective employments. Although May-day should fall on a Sunday, they ebserve the same practice in all respects, with the omission of dancing in the town. On the first Sunday after May-day, it is actistom with families at Penzance to visit Rose-hill, Polticr, and other #. villages, by way of recreation. ese pleasure-parties usually consist of two or three families together. They carry flour and other materials with them to make the “heavy cake,"just described, at the pleasant farm-dairies,which are always open for their reception. Nor do they forget to take tea, sugar, ram, and other comfortable things
for their refreshment, which, by paying a trifle for baking, and for the niceties awaiting their consumption, contents the farmers for the house-room and pleasure they afford their welcome visitants. Here the young ones find delicious “junkets,” with “sour milk,” or curd cut in diamonds, which is eaten with sugar and cream. New made cake, refreshing tea, and exhilarating punch, satisfy the stomach, cheer the spirits, and assist the walk'home in the evening. These pleasure-takings are never made before Māy-day; but the first Sunday that succeeds it, and the leisure of every other afternoon, is open to the frugal enjoyment; and among neighbourly families and kind friends, the enjoyment is frequent. ” -- ... i - was a - - - - 1- no ot- --, -to the Editor of the Every-day Book to Sir, -- o, There still exists among the labouring classes in Wales the custom of May. dancing; wherein they exhibit their persons to the best advantage, and distinguish their agility before the fair maidens of their own rank, to o -- * * * About a fortnight previous to the day, the interesting question among the lads and lasses is, “Who will turn out to dance in the summer this year?” From that time the names of the gay performers are buzzed in the village, and rumour “with her hundred tongues" proclaims them throughout the surrounding neighbourhood. Nor is it asked with less interest, “Who will carry the garland?” and “Who will be the Cadio” of the peculiar offices of these two distinguished personages you shall hear presently. .* About nine days or a week previous to the festival, a collection is made of the gayest ribbons that can be procured. Each lad resorts to his favoured lass, who gives him the best she passesses, and uses her utmost interest with her friends or her mistress to obtain a loan of whatever may be requisite to supply the deficiency. Her next care is to decorate a new white shirt of fine linen. This is a principal part of her lover's dress: "The bows and puffs of ribbon are disposed according to the peculiar taste of each fat.' girl who is rendered happy by the pleasing task; and thus the shirts of the dancers, from the various fancies of the adorners, form a diversified and lively appearance. During this time the chosen garland
better is also busily employed. Accom: firmly fixed, and displayed with the most panied to: : the intended studio so. spoons and smaller
dancers, who is best known among the farmers for decency of conduct, and consequent responsibility, they go from house to house, throughout their parish, begging then loan of watches, silver spoons, or whatever other utensils of this metal are likely to make a brilliant o: and those who are satisfied with the parties, and have a regard for the celebration of this ancient day, comply with their solicitation. When May-day mora arrives, the group of dancers assemble at their rendezvousthe village tavern. From thence (when Permission can be obtained from the clergyman of the parish,) the rustic procession sets forth, accompanied by the ringing of bells. earrangement and march are settled by the Cadi, who is always the most active person in the company; and is, by virtue of his, important office, the chief marshal, orator, buffoon, and money collector. He is always arrayed in comic attire, generally in a partial dress of both sexes: a coat and waistcoat being used for the upper part of the body, and for the lower petticoats, somewhat resembling Moll Flagon, in the “Lord of the Manor.” His countenance is also particularly distinguished by a hideous mask, or is blackened entirely over; and then the lips, cheeks, and, orbits of the eyes are sometimes i. red. The number of the rest of the party, including the garland-bearer, is generally, thirteen, and with the exception of the varied taste in the decoration of their shirts with ribbons, their costume is similar. It consists of clothing entirely new from the hat to the shoes, which are made neat, and of a light texture, for dancing. The white decorated shirts, plaited in the neatest manner, are worn over the rest of their clothing; the remainder of the dress is black velveteen breeches, with knee-ties depending halfway down to the ancles, in contrast with yarn hose of a light grey. The ornaments of the hats are large rosettes of varied colours, with streamers depending from them; wreaths of ribbon encircle the crown, and each of the dancers carries in h so had a white pocket handker. CInlet. . . . . . . . . a she garland consists of a long staff or pole, to which is affixed a triangular or, oquare frame, covered with strong white, linen, on which the silver ornaments are
forms are placed in the shape of stars, squares, and circles. Between these are rows of watches; and at the top of the frame, opposite the pole in its centre, their whole collection is crowned with the largest and most costly of the ornaments: #. a , silver cup, or tankard. his garland, when completed, on the eve of May-day, is left for the night at that farmhouse from whence the dancers have received the most liberal loan of silver and plate for its decoration, or with that farmer who is distinguished in his neigh. bourhood as a good master, and liberasto, the poor. Its deposit is a token of and it is called for early on the following, morning. ---The whole being assembled, they march in single file, but more generally in airs, headed by the Cadi. After bim folows the garland-bearer, and then the fiddler, while the bells of the village merrily ring the signal of their departure. As the procession moves slowly along, the Cadi varies his station, hovers" about his party, brandishes, a ladleys and oassails every passenger with comic eloquence and ludicrous persecution, for a customary and expected donation, - Yoo - “” When they arrive at a farmhouse, they take up their ground on the best station for dancing. The garland-bearer takes his stand; the violin strikes up an old national tune uniformly used on that occasion, and the dancers move forward in a regular quick-step to the tune, in the order of procession; and at each turn of the tune throw up their white handkerchiefs with a shout, and the whole facing quickly. about, retrace their steps, repeating the same manoeuvre until the tune is once played. The music and dancing then vary into a reel, which is succeeded by another dance, to the old tune of “Cheshire Round.” :- *:: * ***** During the whole of this time, the buffoonery of the Cadi is exhibited without intermission. He assails the inmates of the house for money, and when this is obtained he bows or curtsies histhanks,and the procession moves off to the next farmhouse. They do not confine the ramble, of the day to their own parish, but go from one to another, and to any country town in the #.". "...s o - ... yon o wo o return to their resident vilin the evening, the bells ringing # .*.*.*.*: